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How to Become a Grant Writer

Do you have killer writing and researching skills? You may want to consider a career as a grant writer, where you can write proposals to apply for financial grants and take advantage of your love for writing.

Grant writers research, draft, and submit proposals to government agencies, private companies, foundations, and trusts to obtain funding for research projects. They must be able to understand the proposal process and write compelling proposals. Excellent organizational skills, working knowledge of fundraising techniques and methods, and the ability to collaborate and understand the goals of stakeholders are essential tools for a grant writer. 

Grant writers must have an excellent command of grammar and the ability to write well. Grant writers may also be tasked with identifying new grant opportunities. Intermediate computer skills and familiarity with databases are necessary tools you need as a grant writer. Grant writers need excellent time management skills as well to meet deadlines. 

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is looking for a motivated and successful grant writer! The grant writer will be responsible for locating, researching, and applying for potential funding opportunities in order to ensure successful budget operation. The ideal candidate should have previous experience and proven success in the grant writing field. This employee will be required to provide high-quality grant proposals, contact sponsors, companies, and organizations that offer grants, and submit grants to these locations. This position will be full-time. If you are motivated, hard-working, and have previous experience in this field, please do not hesitate to apply. We would love to have you on our team!

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Research and identify grants that match the objectives of the organization
  • Develop proposals for matching grants
  • Oversee preparation of grant proposals, conduct a final review, and ensure timely submission 
  • Maintain accurate record of past and present grant opportunities, deadlines, and proposals
  • Develop and maintain strong relationships with colleagues and donors 
  • Respond to funder questions in timely manner

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in English, marketing, communication, or a related field required
  • Certifications preferred 

Required skills and qualifications

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to conduct thorough research 
  • Detail-oriented and ability to multitask
  • Knowledge of current trends in donating 
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite tools

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience writing government grants
  • Experience working on a research team and securing grants
  • Excellent grammar and strong attention to detail 
  • Master’s degree in related field

Typical work environment

Grant writers are responsible for researching relevant grants to their position, drafting and submitting applications, and managing the negotiations between employers and grant providers. The chief tasks of these writers can be done from an office or remote environment, although occasional travel may be required depending on the location. Usually, a grant writer will work with nonprofit organizations and businesses in fields with relevant grants (internet service providers and other similar companies) in order to ensure the successful acquisition of a grant.

Typical hours

Typical hours for grant writers are from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, in an office setting. Depending on the organization, this position may take place remotely, offering a more flexible schedule.

Available certifications

Grant writers can benefit from holding certain certifications that are relevant to the position. Although the certifications available may vary depending on the field in which the grant writer works, some of the certifications are:

  • One Week Grant Writing Certification – The One Week Grant Writing certification, which is offered by WriterHQ, is a great course that provides a certificate to acknowledge one’s technical writing skills as well as their grant writing skills. This certification can be a great start for any grant writer wanting to prove their competency in the field and may be useful for acquiring a grant-writing position.
  • Portland State Grant Writing Course – The Portland State Grant Writing course is widely recognized as an esteemed certification process for grant writers. It’s one of the foremost providers for this type of material and viewed as beneficial to any grant writers attempting to showcase their expertise and talent in the field.

Career path

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in a communication-related field. Employers may prefer candidates who have previous on-the-job experience and certification. Grant writers can advance to positions such as grant specialist, development coordinator, development manager, development director, and chief development officer. 

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 27-3042

2020 Employment52,300
Projected Employment in 203058,300
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 12% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift6,100 increase

The growth of nonprofit and related organizations indicates that professional opportunities for grant writers will increase. Because these organizations obtain funding primarily through donors and grants, demand for grant writers will continue to increase. The Grant Professionals Organization offers individuals professional opportunities to further develop their knowledge and skills in grant research, writing, and management.